Cindy Abbott Completes 2015 Alaskan Iditarod

Cindy Abbott and Robert Follman cruising through Anchorage during the 2015 Iditarod ceremonial start. (Photo by Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage)

Cindy Abbott and Robert Follman cruising through Anchorage during the 2015 Iditarod ceremonial start. (Photo by Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage)

Congratulations, Cindy Abbott on being the first woman in history to complete the world famous Alaska Iditarod Race and to climb Mount Everest.

On Sunday, March 22 at 9:19 pm in Nome, Alaska, musher Cindy Abbott of Irvine, California, victoriously rode across the finish line of the last great race – the world famous Iditarod Race.  With a smile on her face and waving her flag supporting NORD, the National Organization for Rare Diseases, Cindy accomplished a feat that no other woman has ever done; not only is she the first woman to climb both Mt. Everest and also complete the 1000-mile Iditarod Race in Alaska, but she achieved all of this while struggling with Wegener’s granulomatosis and being blind in one eye.

cindy-abbott-finishes-iditarod

Cindy Abbott extinguishes the “Widow’s Lamp”, signifying the end of the 2015 Alaskan Iditarod

Cindy and her 14 dogs from Vern Halter’s Dream A Dream Farm & Training Center in Willow, Alaska, were the last participants who rode into Nome after braving the tremendous winter elements.  This race is truly an enormous undertaking for both musher and dogs with the temperatures often dipping well below -50˚F.  Completion of the race is a true testament as to Cindy’s strength and sheer determination and the dedication, drive, and training of Vern Halter’s beloved dogs.

Bringing the 2015 Iditarod Race to a close, Cindy Abbott is the recipient of the treasured Red Lantern Award.  The famous Red Lantern is a symbol of perseverance and all mushers feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when receiving it.  Cindy has made previous attempts at the Iditarod Race and had to scratch due to injuries.  This time, she finished with grace, tenacity and with the respect and appreciation from her fellow mushers and the entire mushing community.

Finish of NL300 race by Albert Marquez

Finish of NL300 race by Albert Marquez

The Katmai Lodge Alaska and Markall Inc. Foundation for Disease & Disability Awareness is so proud to have been Cindy Abbott’s sponsor in her incredible journey to bring awareness to the NORD organization.

Her response to local media when asked the question of “When did you know you were going to make it all the way to Nome?” was fabulous…”When I started”.  Truly inspirational…

To donate and support Cindy in her Iditarod efforts, please visit www.klamf.org.

Katmai Lodge Alaska & Markall Inc. Foundation for Disease and Disability Focus:

The purpose of the Katmai Lodge Alaska & Markall Inc. Foundation for Disease and Disability Awareness is to raise hope and awareness for diseases and disabilities throughout the United States.  Our goal is to inspire, educate and support individuals who have faced challenging physical and psychological issues and encourage them to achieve their dreams.  We offer sponsorship for unique events that will bring focus toward individual’s special needs and circumstances and ultimately raise the level of awareness for these challenges in their communities.  We also anticipate offering support to varying medical programs for research, education and awareness.

Cindy visits with one of her dogs as she's doing her morning chores at the kennel.

Cindy visits with one of her dogs as she’s doing her morning chores at the kennel.

The Katmai Lodge Alaska Foundation for Disease and Disability Awareness is proud to be Cindy’s primary sponsor in her goals of becoming the first woman (and second person) to summit Mt. Everest and complete the 1000-mile Alaskan Iditarod Sled Dog Race, two of the world’s most extreme adventure sports.

Cindy Abbott’s Focus:

Cindy Abbott’s focus is to raise awareness for National Organization of Rare Disorders (NORD).  Cindy struggles with Wegener’s granulomatosis and is functionally blind in one eye.  Despite the challenges of her auto immune disease, she has successfully summited Mount Everest, and is now making a third attempt to complete the Iditarod Race in Alaska. Her first two race endeavors ended prematurely in injury. She is the first California musher to attempt this, and continues to draw much support from both fans and the media alike.

About Cindy Abbott:

katmai-lodge-2014_062814_2433-LargeAt the age of 48, Cindy Abbott, with almost no mountaineering experience, and a rare, incurable and life-threatening disease, decided to climb Mt. Everest.  She was told it was impossible, but she proved them wrong. On May 23, 2010, after 51 days of working her way up the mountain, she stood at the top of the world holding a NORD Banner, and became the 40th American female to summit Mt. Everest. This created both national and international media coverage (ABC, World News with Diane Sawyer, NPR,

newspapers, magazines, awards, etc.) But it was not enough. She started speaking on behalf of rare disease awareness to all kinds of organizations from medical to political. But it still was not enough. She wrote and self-published a book, REACHING BEYOND THE CLOUDS: From Undiagnosed to Climbing Mt. Everest.  But she still was not satisfied; she needed to do something extraordinary to bring rare disease out of the darkness and into the light.

Cindy Abbott at the Summit of Mt. Everest by Scott Woolums

Cindy Abbott at the Summit of Mt. Everest by Scott Woolums

So once again, she is reaching for the unreachable – to become the first woman (and second person) to summit Mt. Everest and complete the 1000-mile Alaskan Iditarod Sled Dog Race, two of the world’s most extreme adventure sports. For this, she is not going to rely on the fleeting effects of media coverage; she is producing a feature-length documentary film to bring rare disease awareness to both national and international audiences.

For more information on media coverage, speaking events, awards, and other information go to www.reachingbeyondtheclouds.com

Suggested Topics for Discussion:

Red Lantern Award in 2015 Iditarod Race http://www.alaskapublic.org/2015/03/23/cindy-abbott-claims-2015-iditarod-red-lantern-award/

Katmai Lodge Alaska & Markall Inc. Foundation for Disease & Disability Awareness Affiliation and Katmai Lodge Partnership (www.katmai.com)

Donations & Sponsorship through Katmai Lodge Alaska & Markall Inc. Foundation for Disease & Disability Awareness website www.klamf.org

NORD Affiliation and Rare Disease Awareness – Wegener’s Granulomatosis

Iditarod Race – Alaska (2015) & Preparation (California musher, training, process, dogs)

Reaching Beyond the Clouds Book & Upcoming Documentary